Issue of November 22, 2015
Mt. Province

Baguio Day Anniversary Issue
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Mass Transport and the Number Coding Scheme

Hearing the public complain about heavy traffic early last week used to be unthinkable. The Baguio community used to ‘welcome’ tourists in this mountain resort middle of December, during the Christmas break, then in February when visitor arrival peaks again.

Holiday or not, traffic congestion, as predicted by a traffic engineer and whose opinion about what should be done about the problem, we wrote several times in this paper, is indeed happening.

Crafting a traffic master plan, we are sure, is not foreign to our city planners, yet until today we have yet to hear if the same has taken off, or whether there are plans to craft one.

Some attribute the sudden traffic congestion to exodus of tourists as a result of the long holiday in the National Capital Region because of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit; the arrival of delegates for the annual mining conference; and the Fil-Am golf tournament. The gridlock was made worse by the lifting of the Number Coding Ordinance, a scheme designed to reduce the number of vehicles plying the central business district.

The situation brings us back to last year when a “carmageddon” extended all the way to Sison, Pangasinan.

It seems, we have not learned from that experience, with traffic reduction schemes being planned only few months before the expected influx of tourists. Worse, in our effort to please our visitors, we lift the Number Coding scheme and allow them to bring their cars to squeeze in our narrow roads.

What happened to the campaign for car pooling? Isn’t this a contradiction that we lift the Number Coding scheme, yet we suggest to tourists to take public transportation? If our visitors have their own vehicles and are being given the leeway to use it, why would they leave in their homes a more convenient mode of going around the city?

Instead of the partial lifting, because only private vehicles are allowed to navigate our roads, of the Number Coding, we suggest for the Traffic and Transportation Management Committee to seriously consider non-lifting of the Number Coding. Giving convenience to one party should and must never be at the expense of another. Residents and public utility drivers are often the ones inconvenienced by this scheme.

We would also like to remind our policymakers about the urgency of coming up with a traffic master plan. The longer they dilly-dally, the more problems they will face in the near future – affecting not just traffic, but the environment and business in general.



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